The Painter's Methods and Materials

by A. P. Laurie, Dover Publications

23.5 X 14 cm. 250 pages

After reading Ralph Mayer, Max Doerner and Kurt Wehlte I’d absorbed a wealth of information, much of it cautionary. Still, I wasn’t sure of the best way to paint. More importantly, they didn’t address many of the issues arising in my own work. For instance, I was striving for a smooth surface, and I believed that the thinner the oil paint film, the less objectionable future cracking would be. The problem was the poor covering power of white paint, even lead white. I found it particularly challenging to grade from pure white to light gray. Laurie’s book delves into the optical properties of paint in a scientific manner. He makes clear the effect of refraction in various paint films. Particularly informative are his observations on unfinished old paintings. Because parts of the paintings are at different stages of compleation, you learn more of the painter’s methods than you might from a finished work. A significant point I noted, was a confirmation of my own belief. If you want a white passage, there should be nothing but white from the surface down to the titanium pigmented gesso ground.